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I was just informed that when Indiana dropped the Common Core State Standards, the US Department of Education told the Hoosiers they had to introduce new tests right away to keep their No Child Left Behind waiver. As mentioned in this recent Education Week article, Indiana was not allowed to continue using its old ISTEP tests because the old tests were not aligned to the new standards Indiana adopted after dropping Common Core.
Now, here is the “how’s that again” point.
Only a few days ago, Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday went ballistic over a similar federal intrusion into Kentucky’s education business.
Holliday was told that even though Kentucky adopted the new Next Generation Science Standards late last year and teachers are already teaching to those standards in the current school term, Kentucky was not allowed to bypass science testing for a year while new, aligned science tests were created. Instead – are you ready for this – Kentucky is being forced by the feds to use old science tests that are not aligned to the new standards.
Let me see if I have this straight. Indiana adopts new standards and must rush creation of new tests – old tests not allowed. Kentucky adopts new standards and must use old tests.
Now, here is an interesting thought. What could happen to the credibility of the new Next Generation Science Standards if Kentucky’s scores drop this coming spring on the old science tests? Keep in mind, the old test looked for factual knowledge, but the new curriculum stresses other “stuff.” So, a drop in scores isn’t totally unlikely. But, if Kentucky’s science scores do drop, could that create a credibility problem for the new standards?
More importantly, does this new-standards-but-old-test plan treat our students and teachers fairly?
Bottom line: Why are the feds telling Kentucky it must do one thing and Indiana the opposite? Where is the logic in that? And, most importantly, how does this help students and teachers?